As we celebrate AmeriCorps week in Colorado, we are excited to be able to highlight the amazing work our AmeriCorps coaches are doing in their schools each and every day. AmeriCorps member Ben is currently the Playworks coach at Meadow Community School in Thornton, Colorado. He has developed an amazing program in a first-year Playworks school, and has found some amazing young leaders within his community:
"I first met Maria when I noticed her by herself like many previous recesses. I approached her and tried engaging her in an activity or game. She was hesitant about playing any games, especially with the other kids. She did have an interest in frisbee, so I used that to get her up and playing. We played frisbee nearly everyday. I got to know her and she eventually told me about her desire to be a Junior Coach. The only issue was she doubted herself and thought she was not Junior Coach material because she was too shy, too quiet, or she didn’t think she could do it. I encouraged her to apply and still go for it just to try. Sure enough Maria did so. I wasn’t sure how she would develop with the program, especially since it put her into many situations that would make her interact, lead, and play with the other children.
"After about two months of Junior Coaching at recess, coming to all the trainings, always asking questions and going the extra distance, she made incredible leaps. At our last Junior Coach meeting before winter break, we did a little bonding and asked all of my Junior Coaches to encourage each other by saying something nice and positive about someone else. Time after time, Maria was given recognition by her fellow Junior Coaches for coming along the furthest and becoming a great Junior Coach who the kids love and who loves her job.
"It was exactly what she needed to hear. She cried and thanked the Junior Coaches for their support and how she feels that they are her best friends. Without them or our trainings and program, she never thought she would be doing things she is doing now. Maria won our first Junior Coach of the month award for her transformation, hard work, dedication, and for not giving up on herself. I feel honored to be able to help her and all these Junior Coaches by providing them with a great program."
Become a Playworks AmeriCorps Member: